Homemade Finger Paint

by Merissa on September 24, 2013

in Make Your Own

Homemade Finger Paint

Homemade Finger Paint

Homemade finger paint is one of those activities that can work for nearly any age.  Even older teens and tweens can get into it! If you are looking for a fun activity, but don't have any finger paint on hand, it is simple to make homemade finger paint for just pennies!

Half the fun of homemade finger paint is making it. Just be sure (obviously) to have an adult do the part of the recipe that involves boiling water on the stove top.  The most fun part is adding the food coloring, so that should definitely be a group activity.

Spread some newspaper on the ground for messy fun, go outside, or use finger paints in the bathtub for easy clean up. I always like to make these fun activities somewhat educational, so I've done the finger paints on a sheet pan and practiced painting numbers and letters with my children.

This recipe is edible, although it doesn't taste good and I don't recommend ingesting it. If the baby licks it off his finger, though, no worries.

Homemade Finger Paint

What You Need:


1.  In a large bowl, mix the flour and salt together. Add the cold water and stir until completely combined.

2. Add the above mixture to a large saucepan filled with 2 cups of boiling water, and boil until the whole mixture is completely smooth.  If it doesn't thicken up as it should, you can add cornstarch a tablespoonful at a time to get it to thicken faster.

3. Add the food coloring gradually until it is the color you like.

4. Let cool thoroughly before playtime.

homemade finger paint

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Store in an airtight container, but for best results use immediately.

Visit the DIY page for more fun things to do with kids, such as:

Have you ever tried making homemade finger paint? What was the best natural coloring you came up with?


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6:00 am

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Felicity September 26, 2013 at 10:33 pm

I feel a bit silly asking this, but…I’ve been wanting to make some finger paints and maybe some play-dough using natural dyes like beet puree, but I’m curious about shelf life. Have you found that using plant based dyes leads to a moldy or rotting veggieness to the paint after a while? Do you store the paint any differently when you use veggies to dye it? Thanks for the great post.


2 Merissa September 27, 2013 at 6:21 am

The plant based dyes won’t do much to contribute to mold but homemade goods with no preservatives or toxins do tend to last a shorter amount of time, I would say a few months max. I don’t store the things any differently though.


3 Felicity October 20, 2013 at 8:34 pm

Thanks for the info on the plant based dyes. I’ve been shocked at how long my homemade preservative-free play dough (with no coloring) has lasted. I must have made it over 6 months ago and was sure it would mold pretty quickly in the tuperware in the toy closet, but it’s still in great condition. Maybe because my son has only played with it a couple times?
I recently dyed some clothes I was repurposing using turmeric and had great results, so I’m looking forward to trying the natural dyes with finger paint. Thanks, again.


4 Merissa October 20, 2013 at 8:37 pm

Thanks for sharing that! It’s good to know how long your homemade pla ydough lasted.


5 Chris Turner Pasek September 26, 2014 at 3:55 pm

I think it just might have been because it was in the tupperware. We visited THE TUPPERWARE place in FL when my kids were little and they had bowls of candy and nuts out for anyone to try. I asked about these other bowls that were up where no on could reach and she said that that candy and nuts were in these bowls for 2 years. We did get to try them later when most of the people were gone and they were just as fresh as if they had been put in there yesterday and that is why I think keeping that playdough all the time that she did might have been due to the tupperware.

6 elaine January 29, 2015 at 8:23 pm

I’m going to try this with my granddaughter!! I would love for you to stop by and share your stuff on My 2 Favorite Things on Thursday Link Party!! .


7 Misty Nicole Roberts February 7, 2015 at 9:07 pm

I love, love, love this! Thanks for linking this up this week at Merry Monday’s!


8 Joy @ Joy Love Food February 8, 2015 at 2:58 pm

This is such a great idea! Pinning to try with my kids. Thanks for sharing at What’d You Do This Weekend? I hope you will join us again this Monday morning 🙂


9 Ella Yovero August 19, 2015 at 4:00 pm

Hi! I’d love to know if the result of this paint can be kept as a keepsake? Say if I spray a clear acrylic coating on top of it, perhaps?
I’d like to do this on my baby’s first birthday and possibly frame it.
thanks a lot!


10 Merissa August 20, 2015 at 1:41 pm

I would say yes with some kind of clear coating on top.


11 dieu.fera September 22, 2015 at 5:45 am

Hi! Im teaching and was wondering if the pictures that are here are what the paint looks like? I want to try it, but all the other sites the paint looks chunky…. The kids are learning the colors and I want them to paint a rainbow for a banner with hand prints, do you think this would work?



12 Merissa September 22, 2015 at 8:15 pm

As long as it’s well blended it shouldn’t be chunky.


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